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Fifteen-minute consultation: Chickenpox vaccine—should parents immunise their children privately?
  1. Sebastian J Gray1,
  2. Katrina Cathie2
  1. 1 Department of Paediatrics, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, Salisbury, UK
  2. 2 Department of Paediatrics, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Southampton, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sebastian J Gray, Department of Paediatrics, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, Salisbury, SP2 8BJ, UK; Sebastian.Gray{at}


Varicella zoster virus primarily causes chickenpox, usually a mild self-limiting illness of childhood. However, complications occur in 1% with 4200 annual deaths. Since the first vaccination was developed in the 1970s, many countries have introduced universal mass immunisation, but the UK currently only routinely immunises ‘at-risk’ populations. With increasing availability of private varicella vaccination, this article reviews the pros and cons of whether parents should be immunising their children with the chickenpox vaccine privately.

  • evidence based medicine
  • general paediatrics
  • immunisation
  • virology
  • epidemiology

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  • Contributors This article was devised, written and edited by SJG with support and suggestions from KC.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.